In 1996, "Macarena" was number one, "No Diggity" had just been released, and a 19-year-old Kanye West was already starting to perfect his flow. A newly surfaced video obtained by Complexshows a very young-looking Kanye rapping at the opening of a record store in New York.
While the performance was five years before his breakout hit as a producer – with Jay Z's 2001 single "Izzo (H.O.V.A)" – and eight years before his game-changing debut record The College Dropout,you can already get a sense of his promise as a rapper, with lines like "Tryna flex the technique, you get blasted with a TEC/ That shit is mad ironic like Alanis Morissette". (Note to Kanye: still not sure this qualifies as ironic.)
The general manager of the shop, New York's legendary record store Fat Beats, saysthat he captured the footage at the store's 6th Avenue opening but had totally forgotten about the video until recently.
"Yesterday I started converting old Hi8 video tapes to DVD and came across some interesting footage from that day..." DJ Eclipse writes. "But what took me by surprise was the appearance of this 19 year old kid who at that time nobody knew. Now I've had this person as a guest on my radio show years later, but it's pretty crazy to see this footage in 96 and think 'damn, this dude was in my house then?' and not even know."